Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to members, friends, family, visitors and our wonderful staff!!

2012 was a blur for me, a magnificent collage of opportunity, risk-taking, discovery, self-evaluation and change. I simply want to share some thoughts that come to mind as I reflect on a huge year of loss, gain, happiness and despair. Throughout it all love and caring is at the core. My wish for all of you is that you can look back on this past year, see the good, and be inspired for the beginning of the new.  Some New Year’s thoughts that may help guide you upward, onward and make 2013 pivotal in your life…

Know in your heart that personal change is possible. It requires work, determination and a strong confidence in your own abilities. No one but you can do it and ultimately you will need to take responsibility for all consequences in the process.

Look at the individual tree you want to climb rather than the forest surrounding it.  One of the largest obstacles to reaching a goal is taking on too much and then talking yourself out of doing anything.

A setback is only a speed bump, not a failure. A significant life-change will not be easy nor should it ever be taken lightly. If it were easy you would have achieved it long ago. Evaluate, learn, re-set and get back on track.

Hear your inner voices.  There is one on each shoulder. One says yes you can, the other says no you can’t. There is a beautiful, complicated brain in the middle that will process it all if you let it...sometimes all night long. Always listen, weigh all arguments and be true to yourself.

Regrets are a waste of your energy unless they trigger a call to action that improves your life, your connections with people, all the things you care about. Look forward, guided by the past, but not ruled by “should haves”.

Judge yourself with kindness with a focus on reality. Never let others define what you should be, what you should do. Fear of judgment and criticism can paralyze us. It can destroy creativity, kill dreams and essentially prevent us from tackling anything that makes us vulnerable.

Surround yourself with good, positive, affirming people that care about you. There are people who inspire growth, and people who destroy dreams. Be one of the former and choose whom you spend valuable time with wisely.

In closing out December 31st 2012…
This year let’s all be kind to others. Find the good within the bad. Filter your thoughts before you pass them on. Realize a simple word, gesture or deed can either lift or crush someone’s day. Intentionally, or not.  Be the one who inspires greatness when moments are low. 

My wish for you: Get closer to your dreams in 2013 and take the world along with you!   

~ Kari

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Change and Progress

Happy New Year to everyone!

I hope you are already heading in a positive direction in 2012. My absence from writing is simply a reflection on how change can affect the balance and rhythm of life. Some are planned, some are a surprise, and all must be dealt with. There is a definite ripple effect that accompanies every decisive movement and that is why it is so much easier to leave things as they are. That is also why we couldn’t.
For better or worse, I am loyal to tradition, routines, and all things familiar. This sometimes leads to a reluctance and unwillingness to make bold moves. There does come a point, and for us the 30-year mark is a catalyst, where it feels like now or never. Several years ago we began seriously discussing the advantages and challenges of changing the ProRobics name. We definitely wanted it to be easier to recognize what we are by name alone. With the term aerobics becoming “so 80’s” new generations of potential members wondered what a ProRobics was. We knew, our long-time members and staff knew, but the reality was “Robics” was easily mistaken for Robotics. I have joked about it often. Although I find robotics an intriguing and flattering field to be associated with, I am proud of what we truly are.
At the start of summer we made the big emotional leap and began the process of re-branding. There is a freeing effect when you start to relax to the idea of a big change and go forward with a receptive eye. It becomes easier to accept everything else that life presents in your path. We have formally launched The SeattleGYM along with remodels and new programs being introduced at both gyms, Laurelhurst and Queen Anne. These past few months have been our busiest, and at the same time most challenging. There is a new, very positive and heightened energy around the gyms. And the good news is we’re not done yet. The process of change and improvement will continue through the year for us to complete our plans. I feel great pride that the new name is finally associated with my beloved city of Seattle and continues on a deep, historical level. This is where I was born, raised and started a business and career. A big shout-out to Decatur, Nathan Eckstein, Nathan Hale, University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University…not to mention favorite childhood hang-outs Dairy Queen, Dicks, Burgermaster and Baskin Robbins my first job.
Now a big reason for writing this is to encourage all of you to tackle that change of direction you have been longing for. Look in your heart, question your reasons for not going forward, come to a decision, and make a plan. Write it down, create small goals, and be specific so you can check off each one as you accomplish it. The ripple effect I mentioned above is so true in achieving your fitness vision. Feeling good about yourself will impact everyone and everything in your life. I believe we underestimate the power we have by demonstration alone. Your decisive commitment to do something positive especially when it is difficult may be the catalyst to encourage someone else to be as bold. You don’t have to say a thing, you don’t have to preach, you just have to be. People notice and are inspired. This will always come full circle back to you and will empower you even more.
It is not always easy but it is worth every effort.

To your good health and happiness,


Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Message of Hope…

Finally Seattle has had a glimpse of summer. It has been a long road of wait and August seems quite late to consider winter has finally ended. At any rate, I am joyful to be alive and enjoying this fun season with family and friends.

I feel a strong need to send a very heartfelt message to my friends fighting for their lives as I write this. I have decided not to use names so that your privacy is preserved but I know you know who you are. Cancer, in a variety of forms, has changed the lives of many of you in ways I can only begin to grasp. I get strength spending time with you, seeing you in class, or in the gym. I silently witness your amazing perseverance. When I have the chance to speak with you during a workout the message I receive is often consistent. Your workout is a lifeline to normalcy and one of the few moments in your week/month when the body becomes a friend again, something that gives you some momentary control and strength, something that reminds you of the great pleasure and gift that health is. Your battle is quiet, intense, often in pain and for many of you it has been waged for several years…an up and down roller coaster that won’t seem to let you get off and be YOU again.

Your forward push is continuous. Your honesty hits me deeply and my hope for your complete healing is overwhelming. It is an ache that I feel all the time. I have no idea what words to say to comfort you. I hope that any words I write or say are not presumptuous. I can’t possibly know what you are feeling. I know that I speak for many members, staff and friends who struggle with the emptiness of words to convey what we feel, what we hope, what we pray for. The helplessness we feel. Many of us would consider ourselves “fixers” in our lives. We tackle and fix the little things that in the moment seem like big things. It is you, my friends in this fight, whom continue to bring me back to earth to see in every day what is of true importance. For now, every time I feel the endorphins that build during a class…I do my best to channel them to you. Every time I am confronted with a difficult problem or task, have struggles teaching/working, am dealing with an injury, or begin preparing mentally for a tennis match I channel your strength. Whatever the end result, I know it is a minor hurdle, a small challenge. Most importantly, whatever the outcome, I have given it my best.

There is nothing I take for granted anymore. Life changes on a dime, we are all vulnerable and time is precious. We must all embrace life, embrace each other, because our journeys our intertwined. Everything we do and everything we are affects the person next to us. Time together is a gift and I cherish it, as I cherish you.

I pray in your journey you feel the masses of people behind you, cheering for you, praying for you and most of all being so joyful in your good news when it comes. God speed and my deepest love to you. May our glorious sun, even when hiding, always shine warmly on your face.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Stand Proud

One essential piece in the puzzle of fitness is good posture. It is something I talk about often in class because it truly does become the foundation from which every move will start. Good posture provides a state of balance between the skeletal and muscular systems. It will ultimately help you guard against injury and protect you from negative structural changes an imbalance can produce. It is never too late to start addressing the areas you know or suspect are out of alignment.

It is important to understand that if we can’t maintain a balanced and functional position while standing still how can we hope to be our optimal best in any sport or workout? Once you are able to evaluate and correct how you stand, sit and move so many other aspects of your life will improve. An understanding and awareness of where the different parts of your body are relative to each other is a gateway to better fitness and better performance. It is a precious linked chain that you want to protect.

Optimal standing posture (viewed from the side with head facing forward) will allow a vertical line to hang from the top of the head through the earlobe, through the cervical vertebrae, the shoulder joint, the lumbar spine and mid-line of the knee. The spine has three natural curves: cervical, thoracic and lumbar curving slightly anterior, posterior and anterior (respectively) on either side of this line. When you view yourself from the front you want to see equal and balanced halves on either side of this vertical line. Look at the balance of your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. The more you stand up straight, pull the shoulder blades back, down and together, align the pelvis…the more you will notice how you inevitably engage your core to create a brace of support. Seeing a specialist to evaluate your posture may be especially valuable in the long run.

Take a look at how you work at your desk or on your computer. If you have a tendency to slouch by rounding the shoulders forward and collapsing the abdominal area you put unusual stress on the ligaments of the back. This may create a laxity that translates into instability and weakness. This position tends to also result in one of the most common postural problems for all age groups, forward-head posture or FHP. Check yourself often. Be aware, adjust, align, contract, pull in...whatever it takes. These constant internal reminders help better positioning become habitual, your new normal.

It is also valuable to add some workouts/classes to your schedule that focus on posture, alignment, stability and balance. Consider working with a trainer or physical therapist, or design your own workout that that allows you to focus on the basics of good positioning. You must balance your sports, cycling, running, weightlifting, aerobics/step with classes or exercises that slow you down to help keep you on top of “how” you are moving.
You will need to strengthen weakened areas that may now be elongated and stretch shortened areas that are pulling you out of alignment. Feeling that your body is “stacked” in ideal neutral position will give you the confidence to stay active longer, work smarter, and progress more aggressively. You don’t want to lose your range of motion, coordination, balance and agility simply because the body has deteriorated from the stresses of misalignment.

I can’t emphasize enough that this is a lifetime commitment and endeavor. The passing years and new phases in life introduce different challenges. I continue to discover developing issues with my own posture, alignment and abilities every year. Aging is a challenge that we all deal with, and we are fortunate for that opportunity. Good posture is going to improve all aspects of daily living. It is time to rise to the challenge, take an active approach and help your body be the best it can be… for a long, long time!

~ Kari

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Hi everyone, In case you are noticing, is not up and running just quite yet. The website will be launched next week.

~ Kari

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Follow Through…

Hello again! My last entry was sharing a bit about our recent shoot experience in LA. It’s been a crazy couple of months since then and I am happy to say the new DVDs are in duplication and will soon be available. We have been working hard creating a new website that should be up and running by the end of this week if all goes as planned. It will be an easy way to access these new projects, view promotional clips, purchase “older” videos now on DVD, and much more. We are excited to finally have this in place!

I hope that you enjoy these new workouts. My ultimate goal is to broaden my home workout audience, to reach more people in their efforts to get fit and improve the quality of their life through fitness. I know how vital exercise has been to me for my mental and physical health and I am always distressed to see the small percentage of the population who workout on a regular, long-term basis. Making time for this in our week seems as important as eating and sleeping. I encourage all of you to spread the message of what it does for you. If we could all just reach one person to get on this road what an amazing effect we could have. These new DVDs are aimed for all fitness levels and since my personal club classes (cardio specifically) are more advanced, faster and more complicated this will be a great gift to give family/friends who are reluctant to try ProRobics, or any, group classes. The whole point is to move, to have fun and see how great it feels to workout.

Following up from my last blog I wanted to share a bit of what happens post-shoot because I think you will probably be able to relate in some way. As I mentioned preparing for and filming a workout is definitely a challenge. It is mentally, physically and emotionally draining. As the instructor you know you have that one chance to get all you want on tape and there are so many aspects and small details to a production. Often things are out of your direct control so there is a confidence and trust issue. The editing process is in many ways the hardest from an artistic standpoint. While filming you know that this is something that will be watched over and over, it is daunting. During editing you examine it so repetitively, always focusing on the negative, and then worry about how the exerciser at home will react, especially over time. Looking at yourself this closely, seeing your quirks, your physical “imperfections”, listening to your voice, hearing the unfortunate things that come out of your mouth, noticing all the important things you didn’t say…judging…it takes it’s toll on your confidence. Now that I am finished I have to step away and realize I can never make it as perfect as I want. Hindsight is a beautiful advantage that we can’t use in the moment. I can only look to the future and hope I do this again, make the changes I wish I had foreseen. In the long run I love reaching people outside of the gym environment. I only wish I had the opportunity to say to you all the things I would say in person; to encourage you, in your uniqueness, to have the confidence and strength to keep getting better. That is life at it’s best and I am right there with you!

Go for it! No looking back!

~ Kari

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Leap of Faith….

Hi Everyone,

Happy 2011 and so sorry for the lapse in my blog!!

It’s been a crazy 3 months but I’m happy to say we completed the filming of 2 new workout DVDs! For me this past holiday season was a maze of pre-production details, concept and choreography development, non-stop rehearsing either alone or with cast day and night, and then finally filming in LA. It made sense to me to do two very different projects in order to make this trip worthwhile and be able to share what I am feeling in fitness right now. We are now in post-production which includes box design, editing, marketing plans and hope to have these released by the end of March or early April. One of the projects is a follow-up to Reach (ballet-based fitness infused workout) but quite different. The other is a cardio/dance workout that I’m hoping will appeal to a wide range of home exercisers. The music in both is fantastic. I will share more details as I get closer to the finish line.

Our “shoot” trip to LA was a highly charged event shared with a few special people (Danielle, Stacy and Vicki) who were with me through the journey of the last months. We were surprised to find out the neighborhood of our shoot was well known for a different kind of filming. That explained the interesting looks we got from a few curious people. We had many laughs, especially after the fact, reliving the tense moments of mental/physical overload, tripping over equipment during filming, missed cues, forgotten moves, sequence problems, music madness, wardrobe malfunctions…possible food poisoning. Believe me the stress in a 12hr shoot day, which included filming the two workouts, multiple takes, and a photo shoot for cover/box leads to potential for many problems. That mental toughness I talked about in my last entry was definitely put to the test. At times I failed miserably, but I have learned the value of quick recovery and moving on. I know my faults all too well and with every new pursuit I discover more new “issues” to work on.

All in all I am happy I took this leap after a 5-year hiatus from production. At that time I thought those might be my last. One of the reasons is that when I commit to big projects it tends to literally consume me. I wasn’t sure I still had the stamina, the memory, or the patience to take it on, especially while still teaching daily classes. The intense focus nearly pushes me to the edge because I know what my vision is. Completing that vision up to my highest standards is the hard part. As instructors we all know that feeling of “nailing it” where all your moves, your cues, the music, the energy, the class response all clicks. It is hard to recreate that when you only see cameras, the production crew, and people sitting, watching, texting in front of you (cast is behind me so I can’t see them to use their energy!) Every time I do this I realize how much I need my class!! I need to see your faces, hear your voice, see your struggles and see your joy when you “get it” or “feel it”. Teaching live is the ultimate in feedback, good or bad…. but we need it to do our best.

Here are a few behind the scene photos of our adventure. To D, S and V…I am so sorry for every ugly moment of frustration. I hope there weren’t too many. You are gold to me!!

Big, Big Thanks to Stockyard Films/Mike Leber and crew, David Heisler Photography, Ronni Winston Makeup/Hair, Brandon Neff Set Design, AFAA studio and Yes! Music for the inspiration!! You were all amazing to work with!

~ Kari